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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  September 17, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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equivalent as a servant. the religion right, they are the power players. romney is merely the adopted son. he's not there to decide, the decisions have been made for him to the people whom he has given the political troth. why pay attention to anything else? that's "hardball" for now. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris. thanks to you for joining in. tonight's lead, the big 5-uh-oh. the romney team is in disarray. governor romney woke up to a blistering headline this morning with some of the harshest criticism coming from the right. people in his own party. it comes one day after a devastating political article that details a romney team in chaos. full of finger pointing and back
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biting. but don't worry, in an interview to ed this evening on telumundo, mr. romney says things are just peachy keen. >> my senior campaign people work extraordinarily well together. our campaign is doing well. >> so no changes in your campaign? >> no, i've got a good team. >> well, not everyone seems to agree. political details of a campaign that, quote, badly needs a consultant from bain to tra straighten it out. they talk about the chaotic eight-day scramble after romney's rnc speech was scrapped and retarded from scratch. and describes how stunned romney watched the rambling comedy routine in fury. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. he can't do that to himself.
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you're absolutely crazy. >> that was bad. but the lack of policy detail, that's all romney's fault. political rights that many conservatives blame the campaign for being, quote, specifics free and lame. and that blame goes straight to the man running his own campaign, romney himself. eesh. so the romney camp has a new plan. it's time for specifics. but, don't worry, it's not in reaction to that scathing report. >> is this a tactical scheduled sort of acceleration, or this is in reaction to a criticism or retooling as it is characterized? >> i think it's more of a natural progression. >> a natural progress. and why the specifics now? >> we do think the timingi timi
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right at this moment to reinforce the specifics, more specifics for a stronger middle class. >> now, romney has been running for president for years but now is the time to lay out specifics? so let's see what he did and let's see how he did. here's how he answered the question today on immigration. >> i will make sure that my answer to this issue is not political but it's practical for the families of hispanic descent and deals not only with young people but also with the other folks who come here illegally and with people who want to come he here legally. >> and his running mate wasn't much better on taxes. >> tax loopholes, are there reasons that you're not naming specific tax holes? >> yes, because we want to get it done. >> they want to get it done so they don't talk about it. that's because they know it's
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unpopular. it's the bizarre logic of a campaign in disarray. joining me now is democratic strategist bob shrum, senior adviser to the kerry and gore campaigns who also ran ted kennedy's campaign against romney in 1994 and nia-malika henderson, political reporter for "the washington post." thank you both for being here tonight. >> it's great to be here. >> bob, let me start with you. you've been in the trenches on presidential campaigns. what is going on with the romney team right now? >> well, if it's as terrific of a campaign as they said, the word i might apply to it might be a terrible campaign. this goes back after a period of months, letting obama define him, the conventions, lack of any coherent narrative that could persuade people and now the fact that they are plafing on obama's turf, so, for example, the president has a huge lead on who fights for the
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middle class. >> right. >> romney is going to go out there and try to climb the steep side of the mountain and say he cares about the middle class. he's never defined an argument for himself. that's his campaign's fault but it's also his fault. it's the -- you know, last week's episode, if someone in that campaign drafted that statement, but he approved that statement. >> he's fighting the president's fight? >> yeah. he's fighting the president's fight in the middle class and last week on libya he approved the statement that someone should have wrote it. look, i think they've shaken up a little bit. the fact that he had he had gillespie was on that call, they are never going to believe it but there is probably some power shifting in that campaign. now, any campaign that has a secession of messages, i'd rather have one a-minus message and keep searching for another message and another message. >> ed gillespie is a former rnc
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chair. now, nia-malika, here is a quote, romney's associates are baffled that such a successful corporate leader has created a team with so few lines of authority and accountability so not only does it seem as if the message is muddled, it seems like the lines of accountability and authority in how the campaign is being run is muddled. >> that's right. there are apparently many different power centers in this campaign and i think the problem for mitt romney is he is running as a ceo. he's running on his management skills and if you look at this article it appears that there are lots of management problems and i think that is going to end up being an issue for him because it really undermines the core message of his campaign. i think going forward they've obviously said that they are going to be more detail oriented but if you look today and the conversations that he had, that interview he also had a speech
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out in los angeles where he spoke to hispanic business owners. not much detail in that speech either. it seems that there's going to be a shift in terms of their campaign, really was both a reaction to that article and also an attempt to distract from it as well, to change the subject and to essentially say, we're going to do more policy but i've yet to see that today and it will be interesting to see throughout this week he's going to be in miami. he has fund-raisers tomorrow if in fact he does put more meat on the bones, he hasn't so far and that is one of the reasons that republicans are doing all of this hammering and he's got 50 days to do it and we'll see what happens. >> now, bob, not only inside the campaign where sources are come paining but outside the campaign other republicans, for example, the hill newspaper sent an article out that they actually detail some republican lawmakers slamming the romney campaign. one senator says, quote, romney
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needs to say if you elect me, this is what you're going to get. another says, my advisers don't try to turn him into something he's not. you're never going to turn him into a teddy bear. and republican senators, even those who rank among his biggest supporters have complained privately about the execution of his campaign. >> yeah, but he's at a stage in the campaign where republicans are beginning to doubt that he's going to win. in fact, a number of them are in panic. look, he did this ridiculous interview he did the other day with kelly ripa where he said he wears as little to bed as possible which is not an image we needed and his favorite television character on tv is snooki on "jersey shore." i mean, that's the feeling that is settling into these republicans. they never liked him, they were never enthused about him and now they think that, once again, having been forced to accept
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john mccain having been forced to accept bob dole, they have been forced to accept someone they don't like. look, he's behind in the polls and this kind of thing happens. the real question is, can you straighten yourself out? finally i would say, calling him a ceo, i've been thinking about this. basically what he was, he didn't run large companies. >> right. >> he ran a financial manipulation firm that went out, brought companies, other people ran the companies and then if they were profitable or even if they weren't profitable, he sold them and made a profit. >> yeah. well, that is an important distinction. but, you know, even today you were saying, nia-malika, you didn't get any specifics today even as he spoke in los angeles and other places. even on the conference call that they had today when the question of tax loopholes, let's go there. when tax loopholes came up, one of the advisers that was pressed on it, let me play for you the nonanswer that he gave on the
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conference call. >> will you now be willing to engage on what tax loopholes would be closed to make the budget work? >> as to the specifics, like i noted, for example, and there's more specifics today relative to debt reduction, we'll talk about more specifics, for example, we talk about being energy independent by 2020. >> i mean, either i missed something or he talked about there are going to be more specifics. he referred to a plan about energy by 2020 but never specifically answered the specifics on tax loopholes. this is the kind of thing that is frustrating even republicans about them. >> that's right. and even that segment there when he was talking about energy independence by 2020, these are things that he does hit on in his stump speeches but never a
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sense of how you get there. he talks about more education training but, again, does that mean more government programs, more spending on education, does that mean some sort of reform? reducing the deficit, reducing the amount of money that government spent on programs? does that mean slashing certain departments? does that mean slashing the education department? we don't know yet and that's the problem that he's had. again, this seems to be so far sort of a nonreset reset of his campaign. again, there's time, there's obviously debate but i think he might even struggle in those debates if, again, you have moderators trying to press him on those specifics and he is squaurming out of those and essentially giving nothing in terms of what the american voters want to hear in terms of what it would like like if mitt romney were president. he's got to make the argument that obama should be fired and he should be hired and i don't think he made a good case for that yet. >> if you want to get a specific vote, you might want to give
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specific answers. bob shrum and nia-malika, thank you. >> thank you, ref. new proof that the trickle down effect simply doesn't work and the voters know it. plus, stunning new details about the right-wing effort to suppress the vote, that getting more and more blatant about their real agenda. >> the obama people want everyone to get registered through department of motor vehicles or public assistance or food stamp offices. he wants to register the food stamp army to vote for him. >> the food stamp army. folks, this is getting ugly. plus, live from new york, it's the new saturday night live. >> clint eastwood. >> and chair. the comedy duo that rocked the republican national convention is taking their act on the road. >> you want me to do what to myself? i don't think so.
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>> we'll talk about it with former "snl" star, the man who mastered the bill clinton impression. you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc. here's what happened... i was talking to my best friend. i told her i wasn't feeling like myself... i had pain in my pelvic area... and bleeding that wasn't normal for me. she said i had to go to the doctor. turned out i had uterine cancer, a type of gynecologic cancer. i received treatment and we're confident i'll be fine. please listen to your body. if something doesn't feel right for two weeks or longer, see your doctor. get the inside knowledge about gynecologic cancers. knowing can make all the difference in the world.
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you can talk a good game but i like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. >> that was president obama today in ohio slamming mitt romney on his outsourcing record. while the romney campaign is faltering, the president is on message driving home the truth about the gop's economic plan. >> tax cuts, tax cuts, got a few regulations and then let's try some more tax cuts. tax cuts and good times. tax cuts in bad times. want to make restaurant reservation, you don't need the new iphone. try a tax cut. they've got one answer for everything. >> the obama campaign also has a new ad running in key battleground states reminding voters of why they are better
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off now than they were four years ago and pointing out that romney wants to cut tacks for the wealthy. that's the big gop idea, cut taxes for the rich but the only problem is, it doesn't work. a new study by the nonpartisan congressional research service says, quote, the reduction in the top tax rates have little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. of course, that's a fact and these days republicans have a hard time accepting facts. joining me now is jared bernstein, an msnbc contributor and former adviser to joe biden and thank you both for joining me. >> thank you, rev. >> why are mitt romney and other republicans still stuck on this
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trickled down bandwagon? >> well, you said it doesn't work. that's true. it doesn't work if you're looking for better outcomes in terms of productivity and particularly jobs. but it does work if you actually want higher income people to have higher income. the severely nonpartisan congressional research service not only found the results that we were just talking about regarding job growth, economic growth, it also found where you do find a real relationship between high-end supply side trickle down tax cuts is with increased income and equality and, frankly, i think we got enough of that right now. >> now, patricia, when you look at the fact that even the public is not buying it, look at the polls, who is better on economy and jobs? fox news has president obama and romney tied. cnn has the president up by 1%. washington post has the president up by 2.
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rasmussen says obama is up by 2. and then which would better handle taxes? 51% and romney 42%. it's not even working in the polls in terms of the american public. >> yeah, it's definitely not working in the polls and the first polls that you cited, it's a very small separation between obama and romney but this is a huge, huge development in the campaign who is better to handle the economy. that is an area that romney has been beating obama on. >> right. >> by double digits this entire campaign. that was the one area and, again, when you're talking about a campaign that's going to be based on the economy most likely, if you're the candidate who can best handle the economy, that's giving republicans every reason to say, romney's maybe not the best candidate but look how well he's doing on these economic numbers. this is a gigantic development and now because people are coming around and saying, i
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don't know. i'm not so sure. the reason is romney is not giving the specifics. he's been playing the candidate who could best handle the economy and now when voters look for more details, more specifics, romney's refusing to give them and voters are turning away from them for that very reason. >> so it's the lack of specifics. let me go to jared and show you what former president bill clinton said at the dnc that really made a lot of people that may have been on the fence undecided kind of look at it a little differently. watch this. >> the republicans have held the white house 28 years, the democrats 24. in those 52 years, our economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs. so what's the jobs score? republicans, 24 million,
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democrats, 42. >> i mean, now, that's very effective, jared, when you look at 66 million jobs over 51 years and the score is what it is. i mean, that's kind of hard to argue and these are facts. 42 million under democrats 23.9 under the republicans. it's hard to argue those facts. >> i agree and it reminds me of this four years ago discussion that you were just talking about in the introduction. i mean, the problem that i think republicans have had in raising that question, the romney campaign, for example, is that four years ago we were losing 700, 800 jobs a month. now, we've been gaining employment now as the president continuously repeats over a couple of years. now, the gains are not fast enough but the fact is that we are clearly moving in not just the right direction but a massively better direction than
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the kind of crash that we were experiencing back in late 2008, early 2009. so -- and by the way, this is one of those cases where the president can really say his fingerprints are on that turn around in gdp and jobs. if you look at the recovery act, if you look at the financial measures, if you look at the housing measures, many of these measures are closely scrutinized, finding that in fact it helped to turn things around. >> patricia, given those facts and given the record, does it mean the public is slowly becoming tired of the trickle down economic theory because it hasn't worked and if that is the case, what does romney have now? i mean, if you can't use business and the economy which was, as you said, his strong suit in what he was leading the president with, what does he have now to run on? >> i think the only number that
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he really has to run on is people's opinion of the direction of the country and we saw in a lot of polling last week that still 60% of the country thinks that we are going in the wrong direction but you even have to look at those numbers more closely and that number is actually closing for the president. several months ago we saw two-thirds of the country thought we were going in the wrong direction and now people are starting to feel just a little bit better about things and we looked at what bill clinton said, not only did he make the case for barack obama, he's also shown barack obama how to really stand up for himself and say i know you're not doing great but yes you are doing better than you were four years ago. i still think the bill cloeinto speech is the best thing that's happened to barack obama in the last six months. bill clinton really showed him how to make a better case for him receiv himself. romney has no answer for which loopholes would you close. in an interview romney says i'll get to the details maybe when we
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get to the debates in october. that's going to be too late. we already see voters start to make up their minds. if we don't see any details soon, don't know how he closes that gap. >> jared bernstein, patricia murphy, thank you for your time. >> thank you so much. still ahead, new details from inside the national coordinated effort to suppress the vote. their plans to try to defeat president obama at the polls. plus, bill clinton joins me onset. no, no, not that bill clinton. former "snl" star darrell hammond breaks down the new details with us ahead.
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republicans have entered a new fact-free phrase of the campaign, repeating one of their favorite fast talking points about the president. >> an apology for america's values is never the right course. >> the extent to which he's been apologizing for america. >> he was sympathizing with the demonstrators and those attacking the american embassy. >> now, as i've pointed out again and again and again, this is complete baloney and fact checkers have completely
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debunked the idea that president obama has apologized for america. but the right wingers will not give this up. they don't care that it's not true. >> if you go to, they'll say the same thing. they fact check it and say the whole theory of apology -- gli don't care what the fact check says. >> the right is not interested in facts when they are trying to smear the president. of course, republicans weren't always so horrified when a commander in chief apologized to people overseas. back in 2008, president bush apologized to the iraqi prime minister after an american sniper shot a copy of the koran. president bush was right to make that statement. but i don't remember the right wing foaming at the mouth about it. did republicans think we'd let them get away with their latest sorry excuses of slamming the president? nice try, but we've got you.
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this is not your father's republican party. as a matter of fact, it's not even mitt romney's father's republican party. this party that pushes voter suppression all around the country. >> that was vice president joe biden last week calling out conservatives for trying to suppress the vote and intimidate voters in this election. today the "new york times" highlighted a key part of that campaign. a group we've told you about before called "true the vote," they are backed by the tea party. they have sued states to start new voter privileges and they plan to train one million poll watchers for this year's election. just watch how they describe themselves at their big convention earlier this year.
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>> for any of you that have seen qualified capable poll observers in action, it's kind of like driving down the road and looking in that rearview mirror and seeing that there's an officer of the law following you. >> so now voters should feel like the police are following them at the polls? folks, the tone of that convention was extraordinarily disturbing. just listen to this clip from a key partner in the true the vote campaign. >> i fear the obama gang is setting themselves up to steal the elections, if possible. the obama people want everyone to get registered through department of motor vehicles or public assistance. he wants the food stamp army to vote for him. >> this is the type of rhetoric that is being used to recruit poll watches. it's unacceptable. joining me now is congressman karen bass, democrat from
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california and stephen spalding, staff counsel at common cause. his group recently wrote a report called "bullies at the ballot box." thank you both for joining me. >> thanks for having me on. >> thank you, reverend. >> congresswoman, let me ask you just right off the bat, what's your response to that food stamp comment from these poll watchers? >> well, at least they are showing who they really are. for us, i think we need to have our own army. people need to go to got to vote to see what the rules are. we've got to show them by turning out in mass. if anything, it should energize us, make us turn out in big numbers. >> now, stephen, i called you "stephen." but you were part of a big
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report on all of this. let me show you a gary bower, former leader of the summit on friday who's backing president obama. let me show you what he had to say about those voters. >> sure. >> a lot of people to vote for the president. there's a lot of people out now, around america, who depend on checks from their fellows. >> they will turn out in large numbers. >> my prediction, even though the dead votes of chicago, detroit, and cleveland i predict that we will win. >> now, also with an interview with tpm, there was this comment.
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he doubled down bauer. the quote is, voter fraud is rampant in urban areas. i'm raising this to you, because you did the study. from your study and studies that you have also looked over and reviewed -- >> yep. >> have you found rampant voter fraud and is there any scientific data to support that the people voting for the president are people that are dependent on a check in the mail from the government and any of these other class and race-based accusations? >> absolutely not, reverend. those kinds of statements are not in keeping with american values. you know, in america, voting is a fundamental right. it is not a privilege. when you're at the ballot box, whether you are rich or poor or whether you are young or old or whether you are a democrat or a republican, you are ee fall at
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the ballot box and it is so important when we hear that kind of rhetoric, everyone out there goes and registers to vote. there are 50 days left before this election. every eligible american should go and register and vote and let these people know, let these politicians know and people that we just heard from that are trying to manipulate the process and make it harder for eligible citizens to go out and vote, let your voice be heard at the ballot box. that's the best way to fight against this kind of rampant -- you want to talk about rampant fraud, it's the rampant efforts to suppress the vote and make it so people can't go out and have their voices heard. we at common cause are working 24/7 with voter groups all over this country to make sure that there are people there to help people know their rights and know that they should not be intimidated. >> now, congresswoman, let me go back to the conference a minute because i think it's important that we debunk a lot of things
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that are said if in fact they are wrong or confirm them if they are right. john fund at a true to vote summit made a false claim about minorities perception about voter fraud. listen to this. >> the biggest victims of voter fraud in america today are minorities. they think it's a more serious problem than anyone. their leadership has completely failed them. by yelling racism in a crowded political theater and dividing us rather than uniting us. >> now, congresswoman, hasn't there been any number of studies that have said the voter i.d. laws that they just came up with and other new forms of suppression disproportionately impact minorities? >> absolutely. you know, it just makes you wonder, it's like the alternate universe. i'm not sure where he's talking
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about, what minority group he's referring to but we know and you have said repeatedly, this is a solution in search of a problem. there has never been any evidence of widespread voter fraud. this is just the 1950s version of the poll tax and, you know what, we need to have the same level of energy we had in the 1960s when voting rights acts and the civil rights movement was in full force. we need to use these efforts as a catalyst to go out to vote. but it's most important now because these laws have passed already. so it's most important that we know what the requirements are and going to, you can find out specifically what the voting requirements are in your state so we can comply. once the election is over, we can live to fight another day and we have to reverse these laws. >> and we will. let me go back to you stephen in
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my moment that i have left because i want to know have you been able to identify voting fraud? the only fraud i've been able to find is those accusing people of voting fraud. >> reverend, no one wants voter fraud. nobody wants voter fraud. what we want is free, fair, and accessible elections where everyone that is eligible to vote can have their vote counted and cast. >> all right. congresswoman karen bass and stephen spaulding, thanks for being here tonight. >> thanks for having us on. live from new york, it's the new season of saturday night live and they may not be good news for mitt romney. we'll talk about it well "snl"'s led legendary performer darrell
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snl cast talks before the new president obama. >> it's so great to be here tonight. our campaign has a secret weapon and that secret weapon is speaking right now in tulsa, oklahoma. let's take a look. >> hello, i'm mitt romney. ♪ i'm so in love with you >> and even though the show has been on summer break since spring, the writers didn't forget about last month's republican convention. >> clint eastwood and chair. the comedy duo that rocked the
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republican national convention is taking their act on the show. >> what do you mean shut up? why don't you shut up? >> american legend clint eastwood performing one half of a conversation with an irritated and fouled mouth barack obama. it's the show audiences are giving a sitting ovation. >> through eight elections, beginning with jimmy carter and gerald ford in 1976, the crew of "saturday night live" has been expertly putting their fingers on the pulse of presidential politics. >> the president of the united states. >> hello? >> please run. stop staring at my forehead. >> well, i'm sorry. i did it again, didn't i. >> i am speaking to you tonight from europe. and as you've probably heard, they all went nuts for me. >> would you get out of here? >> ew, sorry, be teacher. you on in. >> yes, i'm on.
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>> oh, let me guess, internet blah, blah, blah? i'm just kidding ya. >> joining me now, one of the men who you just saw in that clip, comedian darrell hammond in dozens of skits on saturday night live from 1995 until last year. thank you for your time tonight. >> yes, sir. how are you? >> i'm great. now, let me ask you, what should both candidates expect from "snl" these days before -- these last 50 days before the election? >> oh, i think they will probably find the human side of him, look for him to unravel a little bit, look human which ironically makes them look better in the public's eyes but i think they are sensitive about that on "snl." what they do consistently one or two times, they pick up on it. >> you were in charlotte last week. what did you think of the speeches at the democratic convention? >> well, you know, clinton sort
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of did something that i don't remember doing and rallying the troops and facts and figures and go online and verify and it sort of set the bar so much higher. it's sort of like the first time you see basketball you say, now you've got to do that. >> i thought the president made a good show but the first lady was off the charts. >> she kind of stole the show. >> now, how do you think they have done, they have gone on late night tv and tried to soften themselves up. let me show you an example. critique it for me as one of the best that has done this. >> what about that sarah palin? she's not ready to be ready for president, is she?
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>> be careful what you say about her now. >> i've had my -- >> she has. >> have you been watching the gop debates? >> i'm going to wait until everybody is voted off the island. >> isn't it time for a president who looks like a 1970s game show host. it's the mi double tisel. >> i'm president barack obama and i, too, want to slow jam. the reason it's so important to keep down costs is so we keep college affordable. >> and the president knows his stuff, yeah. that's why they call him the potus, which means person on top -- what is it? >> it stands for president of the united states. ♪ he's the potus with the mostest ♪ >> does that hurt or help them when they go and do these late
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night stuff? how wise is that from your point of view? >> well, i mean, if you're comfortable out there, it's super wise. it doesn't matter if you show human tendencies, if you have -- the things that you do that friends make fun of you about and all of that stuff, when you look human, you look good. if you're uptight out there, it's not a great move. obama did very well. >> now, you did bill clinton, you did al gore. what do you try to put in your mind to get yourself ready to do someone else, like a bill clinton? >> oh, with bill clinton i put in my mind a bedside vigil, somebody's sick, we need counseling, someone to come in and say there's nothing wrong with your world that can't be fixed with what is right of your world. there is nothing wrong with human that can't be fixed by being human. bedside vigil. with him i said, bedside vigil. >> so for everyone, you have your own way of putting you in
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the mood that you feel you can channel them? >> yeah. >> when you look at like tina fey, she's zeroed in on voter doubts about sarah palin in 2008. here she is with amy as hillary clinton. watch this. >> hillary and i don't agree on everything. >> on anything. i believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. >> and i can see russia from my house. >> i don't agree with the bush doctrine. >> and i don't know what that is. >> is the idea to play on some images that the public may suspect and you just carry it all the way, like palin not knowing the bush doctrine or hillary being knowledgeable? >> yeah. because for an audience to laugh, they have to agree with your premise. if they don't agree with it or know anything about it, they are not going to laugh. you can't educate someone and
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make them laugh at the same time. that's the key to "snl ", their finger on the pulse of what people are actually thinking about. >> you have been one of the best. thank you for your time tonight. when you see keen nan, tell him he has to loose weight before he does me again. we'll be right back. [ horse neighs ] look! she wears the scarlet markings! [ man ] out! your kind is not welcome here! nor your odd predilections! miracle whip is tangy and sweet, not odd. [ man ] it's evil!
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conservatives have reached a new low in trying to further their right-wing causes by co-opting the civil rights. a group is criticizing the chicago teachers union strike by taking out a full page ad in usa today comparing striking workers to segregationists in the 1960s. you heard that right. the ed show's, wallace, blocking students from 1963, saying, quote, someone new is blocking
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the schoolhouse door. it's an outrageous comparison. someone clearly missed a few history lessons. let me tell you what happened that day in 1963. then governor george wallace vowed to stop the university of alabama from integrating. he stood in front of the university's doors for hours refusing to let two black students register for class. it all stemmed from a promise wallace made in his inaugural speech. >> in the name of the greatest people that have are ever climbed this earth, i've drawn a line in the dust and i say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever. >> segregation forever. how is an offensive comment like that compared to the chicago teachers fighting for job securities and benefits and fighting for the


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